Gen Y financial literacy: Problem or problem solved?

Back in April 2012, USA Today ran an article with the title Millennials Struggle With Financial Literacy. How bad was the problem? According to the article:

The Treasury Department and Department of Education have teamed the past three years to assess financial literacy in U.S. high schools, and the results haven’t been pretty: the average score of almost 76,900 students in 2010 was 70%. Last year’s testing of about 84,000 students and this year’s of about 80,000 students were both a point lower: 69%. “We have a long way to go as a country,” Secretary of Education Arne Duncan said in an interview, in assessing the test results from the past three years. “There has been a devastating cost to a lack of attention, urgency and seriousness of taking this on,” he said, noting that the housing crisis, low savings rate and poor retirement planning all flow out of the financial literacy issue.”

[The housing crisis, low savings rates, and poor retirement planning “all flow out of the financial literacy issue“? I thought these crises were the banks’ doing. Oh no, wait, I’m sorry, I forgot–they were George Bush’s fault.]

Just a few months ago, CNBC published a piece titled Millennial Money Habits Worth Breaking which attempted to paint a bleak picture of Gen Yers’ money skills:

Bad habits are easy to fall into—especially when you’re in your 20s. Some of the worst money habits among millennials, according to recent surveys include overspending, undersaving and racking up credit card debt. One in 5 millennials hasn’t even started saving, according to a recent poll. Three in 10 don’t even have savings accounts! And of those who do, nearly 40 percent have less than $5,000 saved. And when it comes to putting money aside for long-term goals like retirement, the numbers are just as bad. A 2014 Fidelity survey found more than half of millennials had yet to start saving for retirement.

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